How To Make Natural Homemade Hair Dye & Ditch Store-Bought Forever

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While researching this, I found that there are two ways to color hair: naturally or chemically. Chemical coloring works by opening the outer covering of the hair (the cuticle) to penetrate it. This can damage the cuticle, leaving your hair dry and brittle, whereas a natural colorant can help condition and strengthen the hair.

using natural homemade hair dye

Making Homemade Hair Dye

Henna is probably one of the strongest and most common herbs for DIY hair dye. The finished color will often depend on where the henna has been produced.

Egyptian and Moroccan hennas have a slight orange tint. In contrast, Iranian hennas tend to have more of a reddish tint ( although when hennas are mixed up, they have a greenish color).


Everyone’s hair reacts slightly differently when exposed to a colorant, so before you start putting color over your entire hair, I recommend doing a strand test first.

Now, I’m hoping that you like my homemade hair dye recipe. However, please remember that this is not an exact science; it’s trial and error. So, if you can’t stand the thought of getting a result that’s not as good as your salon, you should not try this at home, please stick to the salon.

Make up a tiny amount of the homemade hair dye and try it on a small, discreet strand of hair; leave it for around 30 minutes before washing it out. If it’s too bright for your liking, leave it on a bit longer, too dark, a little shorter.

Natural Colors For Hair Dye

natural homemade hair dye

Good Ingredients to add to henna for color and shine are:

  • Chamomile or rhubarb root for light-hair.
  • Coffee for a dull red.
  • Indigo for very dark hair.
  • Red wine for a rich auburn color.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 6 tablespoons Powdered Henna.
  • 1 tablespoon of either powdered herbs, ground coffee beans, or Indigo (see natural colors above).
  • 6 1/2 fl oz (200ml) boiling water – or half water and half red wine for the Auburn (see natural colors above).
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar – 1/2 teaspoon if using half water and half wine for Auburn.
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil (normal to dry hair).

Equipment Needed:

  • Large bowl
  • Old towels
  • Newspaper
  • Hair clips
  • Plastic gloves
  • Plastic wrap or plastic hat


  1. Combine all the dry ingredients with the boiling water and wine if you’re using it. Stir in the cider vinegar and leave the paste to cool a little until it’s warm enough to handle.
  2. Wrap one of the old towels around your neck and shoulders and either wear an apron or place another towel over your lap.
  3. Rub the oil into your hair and then divide it into sections using clips; this will make it much easier to handle.
  4. Wear plastic gloves and start at the center of your head. Coat each section with the henna paste, from the roots to the ends. Once a section has been well coated with the paste, pile it out of the way on the top of your head.
  5. After coating your hair with the henna treatment, wrap your head fairly tightly with plastic wrap and leave for the required time. This usually takes between 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the strand test you did, but the longer you leave it, the deeper the color.
  6. Now, rinse the natural homemade hair dye from your hair until the water begins to run clear, then shampoo and condition your hair as normal.


After you color your hair with homemade dye, it’s essential that you take care of it to keep the color looking good and your hair healthy.

  • Use my homemade shampoos and conditioners without sulfates. Sulfates can make your color fade faster, so it’s better to use products without them.
  • Treat your hair to a deep conditioning treatment. They help to keep your hair soft and healthy. You can use special treatments for colored hair or you can make your own with things like coconut oil or avocado.
  • Try not to use too much heat on your hair. Flat irons and blow dryers often make hair dry and dull. If you have to use one, try to use a product that protects your hair from heat.

Potential Side Effects

Even though homemade hair dye is usually safer than the store-bought ones, there are still some things to watch out for:

  • Some homemade dyes can make your hair dry. If this happens, use conditioner often. Try not to wash your hair too much or use my frequent-use shampoo recipe.
  • It’s rare, but it is possible to have an allergic reaction. Some people might be allergic to the ingredients in homemade dye, such as henna. Before you dye your hair, do a patch test on a small piece to ensure you don’t react.
  • The color might not always turn out how you expect: Homemade hair dye can give different results depending on your hair color, its volume, and the ingredients you use. So, be ready for some surprizes (please don’t blame me) and test a small piece of hair first.

Storage and Shelf Life:

  • If you have any leftover dye, keep it fresh to use again.
  • Put the leftover dye in a tightly sealed container, such as Tupperware. This will keep the air out and help it stay fresh longer.
  • If you can, keep your hair dye in the fridge. It will last longer when cold.
  • Before you use the leftover dye, check to make sure it still looks and smells good. If it seems weird, ditching it and making a fresh batch is better.

Final Thoughts

Now, I’m repeating this to make sure I’m clear. I’m hoping you like my homemade hair dye recipe, and I hope it helps you out. However, there is a but.

Please remember that this is not an exact science; it’s trial and error. So if you can’t stand the thought of getting a bad result, you should not try this; stick to the salon.

Author: Angela Wills

Title: Founder and Author - Savvy Homemade

Expertise: Beauty Recipes, Skincare Formulation, Soapmaking, DIY Crafts, Parenting

Angela Wills is an author, founder, and the driving force behind Savvy Homemade. With over fifteen years of experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to every post she writes. She is fearlessly dedicated to creating tried and tested beauty recipes, skincare formulations, soap recipes, and many other DIY crafts that will work for everyone. Angela has a Diploma in Skincare Formulation, is a proud member of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild, and infuses each DIY product with her passion and expertise.

Discussion (4 Comments)

  1. Thanks for posting about dying with wine – it’s hard-to-find information that I wish more people knew about. I’ve been dying my hair with red henna for years. My hair is med/dark brown, so I like to give it a red/mahogany/auburn boost. I mix my red henna powder (from Iran = super high quality) with coffee grounds, red wine, and sumac powder and let it ‘marinate’ overnight. MAKE SURE!!! You don’t use anything metal to mix your henna in – as it will chemically change how the henna ‘takes’. So, plastic, wood, glass bowls/utensils ONLY! Then slowly & carefully apply it the next day. I leave it on (wrapped in cellophane and with a sock-hat on) for 2 hours. Then rinse in cool water to help it set. I don’t wash it for the next 2-3 days. And you’ll want to make SURE that you don’t use shampoos that have tea tree oil as it will strip the color right out! Some friends of mine that have also been using henna for years and like it REALLY carrot red – like to mix a bit of cinnamon and a lot of paprika into their henna. Have fun!

  2. I absolutely love how bright this color was on my dark brown hair! It faded gracefully over a couple of weeks and I still have a ton of product left to redo it. My only complaint is that it will stain literally everything so you have to put a barrier cream around your hairline and keep the gloves on in the shower.

  3. Dear ANGELA,
    I am a Japanese, intrested in henna.
    If you know a recipe which can dye white hair to Blackish tint, chemical free, please let me know.
    Best regards,
    Hiroyoshi Hayashi

    • There is natural black henna! Henna is made from dried, ground plant leaves – it comes in (slight variations of) red or black only. Good Luck!


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